Learning Experience Designers working in large organizations have all the necessary software and tools that they need to create eLearning solutions. one of the primary advantages of working in a large and reputed company is that the individual contributor does not have to worry about expiring product licenses or the lack of technology to complete their tasks. Fully equipped IT teams and project managers ensure that every individual has the required hardware and software to work up to their full potential.
Freelancing Learning Experience Designers do not have access to expensive software can always choose free tools and resources that are available on the world wide web. For the experienced ones, and for those who are already associated with large enterprises, you can use these as your addendum in addition to your existing paid resource.
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The very foundation of an eLearning program is the content storyboard. In an ideal scenario, the storyboard should be fully finalized and approved by the client before the design/development commences. While tools such as Lectora, Storyline, and Articulate Rise come with some excellent templates for eLearning design, organizations prefer to have all the content ready in Word or PowerPoint, with reference images embedded in them as the first step towards design.
This list on the eLearning Industry website contains storyboard templates that you can download and use.
Spelling and Grammar
Even if MS-Word comes with its own in-built language checking tool, Grammarly is extremely popular, especially when you have to spot inconsistencies. This is because the software is contextual and helps you build on existing vocabulary by providing you with suggestions that can actually be implemented.
It is one of the best tools offering comprehensive spelling and grammar checks, not just for your eLearning modules – use the nifty plug-in for Chrome to even correct your mistakes in emails. Note that there’s both a free and paid version of Grammarly. Get a paid subscription to avail of in-depth assistance across your content.
Who wouldn’t instantly visualize Shutterstock to find the most relevant image for your eLearning project? It is a paid service that lets you pick high definition images from across a range of categories. However, if you are looking for faster design and development turnaround times, then the client should provide you with a library of preferred images to choose from. But when none of these options are available, reach out to free online resources such as Pexels, Unsplash, Pixabay, and Freeimages where you can get some stunning royalty-free images. Alternatively, if you are looking for a larger repository, visit Allthefreestock. Whether you are looking for a reference image to be used in the storyboard or an actual image that will feature in the eLearning course; you will find it all here.
Music for Videos
Music plays an important role in video-based eLearning. It is quite expensive to hire someone to compose music that’s unique and specific to your learning content. The best alternative is to scout for ambient music from a variety of royalty-free music libraries and websites like – Freesound, Musopen, and Freesoundtrackmusic. Also, check for independent music artists who upload their music to websites and allow its usage for a small fee. YouTube is a great place to search for such artists and independent music compositions.
Anyone who has worked in the eLearning development environment would know the efforts involved in mixing and synchronizing different audio files with the visuals. Usually, multiple audio files may have to be recorded and re-recorded, based on client feedback. Audacity stands head and shoulders above audio-editing tools. Intricate tasks like eliminating background disturbance, copying and pasting audio, separating and combining audio tracks, and exporting files in the MP3 format, can all be done with absolute ease. Other available options are Frinika – a complete music workstation software, SoundEditor – a free sound editor used to edit, filter and modify sound files, and EKO – a simple, no-frills sound editor. Search through SourceForge and find a tool that matches your needs.
The success of any project depends on quick and efficient communication. The modern workplace, today, is not restricted to just one office in a location. In most cases, people working out of different locations are highly likely to collaborate on a single project. You can use services such as Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, or Slack to communicate with your team members across boundaries, to get the work done on time.
Infographics, Charts, and Illustrations
Multiple solutions are available to generate interesting and visually appealing infographics, charts, and illustrations. Some of the most popular services are – Canva, Piktochart, and Adobe Spark. These services work on a Freemium model. This means paid subscriptions will unlock many more useful features. Both Urban Fonts and Google Fonts bring a comprehensive collection of fonts to address your creative text issue.
A good collection of icons can be found at – FlatIcon and The Noun Project.
Rustici Software offers SCORM Cloud – a service that tests your eLearning product to check if it is actually working as developed. A storage limit of 100 MB applies when you get the Trial or Free service along with 10 active users/registrations per month. It makes sense to invest in a paid subscription to test your eLearning and ensure that it will work with all popular learning management systems.
Here’s an infographic summarizing the list of Free Tools for Learning Experience Designers :
Some More Tools for Learning Experience Designers
Epic Pen – This is a popular screen marker and digital whiteboard tool for Windows that enables you to highlight your mouse, write, draw, or take a screen capture of any software. Use this tool especially for live systems training.
GIMP is a fabulous open-source image editor. It takes some time to get used to it but it is truly worth the learning curve and is absolutely free.
Loom is a free video recorder tool that can be used to capture screenshots and errors with ease. The Google Chrome extension works fabulously.
Here’s a collection of lists put together by some of the legends of eLearning that you may like to refer – Connie Malamed, Deanna Fischer, and Mike Taylor.
Origin Learning provides a variety of services for organizations that are keen on employee training and development. We also use a range of paid and free resources to provide you with the right kind of Learning Management System to further your enterprise goals. Reach out to our experts today for a trial.